Israel’s deputy ambassador in the UK has been appointed to the key diplomatic role of new Israeli envoy to Turkey, as the two former regional allies seek to improve relations.
Eitan Na’eh, who is been deputy head of mission at the embassy in London, will be Israel’s first ambassador to Turkey for six years, when relations deteriorating in 2010 after Israeli commandos boarded a Gaza-bound flotilla, killing nine Turkish activists.
Turkey recently appointed its own envoy to Israel, following an agreement to bury the hatchet earlier this year. As part of the deal, Israel will set up a compensation fund for the victims’ families, on the understanding that the Turkish parliament blocks all legal claims against Israeli soldiers involved in the incident. It will allow Turkey to resupply citizens in Gaza with essential goods and services, after years of criticising Israel’s blockade of the Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this summer that reconciliation with Turkey was “of strategic importance” for the country, adding: “The rift between us didn’t benefit our shared interests and prevented us from cooperating on important things.” Both share a border with Syria, and are keen to see that violence and extremism do not spill over.
In London, Israel’s Embassy to the UK wished the Na’eh luck in his new role. Ambassador Mark Regev told Jewish News: “London’s loss will be Ankara’s gain; I wish Ambassador Na’eh success in his new role”.